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Reviews » Audio Reviews » Mandy Moore:
Mandy Moore:
Sony Music // CD // July 18, 2001
List Price: $18.97 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted August 13, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

A couple of days ago, I was looking through a record store, trying to pick out something. I knew that I'd have to be walking about nine miles that day and needed something to listen to. After a while, I decided to stop looking for something that I'd be interested in and look for a new release that I could review for the website.

I'd heard from articles and other places that pop singer Mandy Moore would be going with a new, more instrumental sound for her new album, rather than the processed teen-beat hooks that filled her previous effort. Taking a listen to the overall album during the day, I was half pleased with the results and half unimpressed. It's true that Moore has brought out a more substancial sound thanks to producers Jon Secada and Emilio Estefan, but the beats that populated her previous work do nicely compete for space without bumping out the new elements of sound.

The place where Moore's work hasn't quite improved is the songwriting. Every song on this album is something to do with love. Hate the other person, confused about the other person, love with the other person, etc. There's a few moments where Moore actually makes this work suprisingly well, though. Backed by a bouncy guitar tune, she actually makes a fluffy lyric like "I'm not a yo-yo, I'm not a thing you let go" actually catchy.

The most enjoyable track on the album though is "One Sided Lover", a track that starts with wonderfully exotic guitar work and smoothy integrates a nice techno beat. Although songs like "One Sided Lover" bring out an edgier Moore, much of the album is rather light in tone, sounding a bit like the lighter side of Alanis Morisette (you know, without all of the rage), especially on tracks like the "Hand In My Pocket"-ish "Crush". There's also a slight "Destiny's Child" feel to songs like "It Only Took A Minute".

Moore has quite a lovely, warm voice that sounds even a little stronger here than with her previous hits like "Candy". Unlike fellow pop star Christina Aguilera she doesn't really try to stretch her range and hit the high notes, but the material really doesn't ever call for it. The production is generally quite good, with a smooth, clean sound that highlights Moore's vocals well. There's one or two too many vocal effects at times, but this didn't turn into much of a concern.

I will certainly give the seventeen year old Moore credit for wanting to reach for a more distinct sound than her fellow pop singers and she has been successful in achieving a more substancial sound here. The songwriting usually works, but becomes a little predictable at times. It's certainly a very good start though for a singer who likely has many more years left to go in her career.

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